Ministry of Education, Guyana

Thursday, 22 March 2018 09:11

UG team advancing work on Food and Nutrition Security Institute

news 20180322 2A team from the University of Guyana [UG] is preparing to undertake visits to model food security entities abroad in the coming weeks. This move comes as part of a key phase of the work being done by team tasked with studying the feasibility of the establishment of an Institute of Food and Nutrition Security [IFANS] at UG.

At the top of the list is the Center for Food Security and Entrepreneurship at the University of the West Indies [UWI], Cave Hill, headed by distinguished scientist Professor Leonard O’Garro, who is co-chair of the UG feasibility team.
The team was appointed earlier this year by Vice-Chancellor Professor Ivelaw Griffith, following a national stakeholders’ consultation held last November, at which Minister of Agriculture Noel Holder delivered the keynote address.
That forum also saw the involvement of officials from the Ministries of Agriculture, Public Health and Education, the Guyana School of Agriculture [GSA], the Food and Agriculture Organization [FAO] of the United Nations, Inter-American Institute of Cooperation for Agriculture [IICA], the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute [NAREI], and university officials.
The FAO, whose representative in Guyana is Mr. Reuben Robertson, as a member of the feasibility team, has provided UG with a US$50,000 grant to support the team’s work. The 35-member, broad-based team is co-chaired by Vincentian-born Professor O’Garro, Founding Director of the Centre for Food Security and Entrepreneurship at UWI in Barbados, and Guyana-born distinguished food scientist Professor Verian Thomas of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee, Florida.
The team’s inaugural meeting was a two-day exercise from January 25, 2018. On the first day, members of the team held ‘Look, Listen, and Learn’ sessions at Global Seafood Distributors, GSA, NAREI, Guyana Livestock Development Authority [GLDA], and the Satyadeow Sawh Aquaculture Station.
On the second day, the full team met at the Turkeyen Campus to begin work on goals, the design of the Institute, and a timeline for action, among other things.
In attendance were representatives from the Edward Beharry Group of Companies, the Ministries of Public Health, Agriculture, Communities, and Education, FAO, IICA, Demerara Distillers Ltd, GLDA, and UG.
Vice-Chancellor Griffith wrapped up the day’s proceedings with a charge to team members to remain engaged with the process, inform colleagues at their institutions and to help garner public support for the initiative.
He also encouraged them to seek to leverage resources to aid the work of the feasibility team and of the Institute when it is formally established. The team undertook to present a first draft report to the Vice-Chancellor by the end of June, after which there will stakeholder consultations in various parts of the country to discuss the report before it is finalised.
Also, on February 28, last, Vice Chancellor Griffith and members of the feasibility team updated Minister Holder on the team’s work.
According to Vice-Chancellor Griffith too, “The advent of oil and gas makes it even more important that we do not forget the essence of what we are—an agricultural nation, with wonderful potential to satisfy national and regional food and nutrition needs.
“I trust our nation will use some of the soon-to-be available oil and gas bounty to invest intentionally in agriculture and education.”
He added, “It would be great to launch the institute on this year’s World Food Day, in October.”


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